Bowhunting Shooting Stance: Why Open Is Ideal

Standing sideways to the target might work well during indoor archery practice, but it’s not the best bowhunting shooting stance in the field.

Bowhunting Shooting Stance: Why Open Is Ideal

There is certainly a great amount of crossover when it comes to shooting at targets and animals, but shooting stance isn’t necessarily one of them. Take note the next time you shoot at the range of your local archery shop. Shooters are often lined up tightly, and almost by necessity they have to stand sideways to the targets. This works fine because everyone is dressed in lightweight clothing; string-to-sleeve contact rarely occurs.

Take these same shooters into the field, however, and dress them in bulky clothing needed for cold-weather whitetail hunting, and this sideways shooting stance will often lead to disaster. If the bowstring crashes into a jacket sleeve upon release, then it’s anybody’s guess as to what will happen to the arrow. Not good.

If you want to practice the way you hunt — and you should! — then try a more open bowhunting shooting stance.

Let’s assume you’re a right-handed shooter, and the target is at 12 o’clock. Your right foot should be pointed at 3 o’clock, but your left foot should be aligned at somewhere between 1 and 2 o’clock. Opening your front foot in this way (pointing it at 1 or 2 o’clock instead of 3 o’clock) also opens your shoulders slightly, which increases the space between your bowstring and your bow arm sleeve. In other words, it greatly reduces the chance of string-to-sleeve contact. Note: Don’t be surprised if changing your shooting stance in this manner reduces your draw length slightly.

The shoes to the left are aligned sideways to the target; this is often called a square stance. The shoes to the right demonstrate an open bowhunting shooting stance.
The shoes to the left are aligned sideways to the target; this is often called a square stance. The shoes to the right demonstrate an open bowhunting shooting stance.

Another benefit to an open bowhunting shooting stance becomes evident when you stand in a treestand and watch for whitetails. With your primary shooting lane at 12 o’clock and your feet positioned as described previously, you’ll have an easier time seeing deer coming from both ways without constantly turning your head.

If you typically shoot with both feet sideways to the target, then this offseason give a more open bowhunting shooting stance a try.



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